Microbiological safety and quality aspects of the short supply chain: SWOT analysis of the Belgian case study

Claire Verraes (Staff Direction for Risk Assessment, DG Control Policy, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Brussels, Belgium)
Mieke Uyttendaele (Food Safety and Food Quality, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Antoine Clinquart (Food Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium)
Georges Daube (Food Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium)
Marianne Sindic (Gembloux Agro-bio Tech, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium)
Dirk Berkvens (Biomedical Science, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium)
Lieve Herman (Technology and Food Science Unit, Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Melle, Belgium)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 7 September 2015

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years consumers in Belgium have shown a great interest for foods from the short supply chain. The difference with the conventional chain is that in the short supply chain the primary products are locally processed and sold directly by the producer to the consumer. The short supply chain has different microbiological quality and safety aspects in comparison with the conventional chain. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate these aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology consists of analyzing the available scientific literature and results of microbiological analyses on foods from the short supply chain.

Findings

The main findings were that Listeria monocytogenes was frequently detected (15 percent) in sampled raw dairy products whereas Salmonella was not isolated in 1,023 samples. Human pathogenic vero (cyto) toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter spp. are potential hazards, in particular for products that are not thermally treated. Data with regard to E. coli counts showed a greater variability in products from the short supply chain compared to the conventional chain.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses strengths and weaknesses with impact on microbial quality and safety in operation of food safety management in the short supply chain vs the conventional chain.

Originality/value

This is the first paper that assesses the risks from the short supply chain vs the conventional chain and that makes recommendations for operators in the short supply chain.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) for their scientific support, as well as the FASFC, the Steunpunt Hoeveproducten and DiversiFerm for providing data.

Citation

Verraes, C., Uyttendaele, M., Clinquart, A., Daube, G., Sindic, M., Berkvens, D. and Herman, L. (2015), "Microbiological safety and quality aspects of the short supply chain: SWOT analysis of the Belgian case study ", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 9, pp. 2250-2264. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-04-2015-0122

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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